Publication Digital Machinery of government 23 September, 2019

Inclusive by default

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This report assesses the causes of digital exclusion and what can be done to make digital public services inclusive by default.

The digital transformation of public services has the potential to create more convenient, accessible and responsive services. They can also help to reduce health and social inequalities by making systems more effective for public servants and patients.

The communities that could benefit most from digital public services, however, are more likely to be digitally excluded – meaning that they lack the ability to access or utilise digital technologies effectively. The digitally excluded are more likely to be older, less educated, unemployed, disabled and socially isolated.

As more public services are delivered digitally, there is an imperative to tackle the causes of digital exclusion. This report finds a lack of skills, motivation or the right infrastructure are some of the key factors that make digital exclusion more likely.

In addition to providing alternative routes for those unable to access digital public services, it is essential that these barriers are overcome. Designing accessible services, community support and partnerships across sectors are tools that can help to make digital public services inclusive by default.